Field service companies go through many challenges seeking to ensure quality service.
Some of the main pain points are logistics, resource management, time and task planning, and team administration.
A fast and effective solution to all these challenges is field service management (FSM).
In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about field service management and FSM tools.
What is field service management?
Field service management refers to a company’s resources (equipment, technicians) used on a client’s property.
One of the examples is telecommunication companies. Technicians who install internet or cable services take the company’s resources to client homes and offices. They are responsible for equipment installation and communication with customers.
On the other end of this service are operation managers who manage technicians and field engineers, find the best routes, plan tasks, and dispatch.
Each field service employee needs an FSM support framework for:
- Locating vehicles and resources
- Asset management
- Scheduling and dispatching work orders
- Managing field workers
- Billing, accounting, and other back-office tasks
The importance of mobile field service
Back in the day, FSM meant that each worker had to check in periodically with the back office.
However, the work paradigm has shifted. The new reality is that a successful field service company is one that has a mobile and autonomous team.
However, running an autonomous workforce smoothly requires advanced solutions such as field service management software. FSM tools provide fast access to the company’s details, employee scheduling, resource information, and client data.
It has a significant impact on field service operation efficiency and employee performance.
The impact of field service management software
When you’re running a field service business, a lot depends on how you manage your resources.
According to research, over 45% of field technicians don’t have sufficient tools for their work. Advanced technologies are moving processes along rapidly, but more than half of field service companies manage their operations manually.
Manual work causes delays, reduces productivity, and translates to customer dissatisfaction, resulting in many human errors.
This is due to a combination of factors, from poor asset and work order management and prolonged service operations to on-premises difficulties resulting in back-office delays.
FSM software can help you mitigate these risks and also achieve additional benefits:
The service should be like clockwork. Customers expect zero downtime, which can become a problem when you’re doing everything manually.
Digital tools help expedite business operations, reduce human errors, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
A flexible FSM system automates operations and provides accessible information flow among team members, departments, and customers. The feature is highly beneficial when administering a big group of people because every authorized team member can access the database with necessary details about the client, locations, requirements, and tasks.
Mobility makes business operations more efficient. When you provide mobile-first tools, employees can access all the necessary data to complete tasks on one easy-to-use system. They can carry the knowledge base and digital features with them, reducing the time spent communicating with the back office.
FSM software displays an employee’s location and helps estimate time and routes better. The tracking feature increases your employees’ security and credibility, not to mention, customers’ trust.
Real-time task assessment
Immediately after the task is executed, clients can sign and rate your employee work quality. For instance, a brief survey to evaluate the service performance. Real-time task assessment gives a better perspective on how your company is operating.
Since field service operations are very dynamic, companies must alternate between scheduling work orders and operations, resolving issues, administration, and everything else.
FSM software provides smart scheduling based on your team’s availability, location, and previous work history.
How does FSM software work?
And FSM technology automates all the processes a standard field service company does every day.
Typically, FSM tech solutions are mobile, allowing employees to use the same devices they’ve been using in their daily operations to maintain constant connection so everything can be tracked in real-time.
For example, if you’re a manager or owner of a plumbing company with some vans and employees, this is how an FSM tech solution would work:
- The system would alert employees about a new work order and provide them with all the information and client history.
- Then it monitors which employees took which van and tools.
- Simultaneously, the central database shows available tools.
- The following work order is then sent to the available employees to pre-select the available vehicles and tools.
- Throughout the process, information about energy/fuel consumption, productivity, first-time fix, and all other metrics are retrieved, stored, and analyzed.
- Information is passed on to the relevant departments (e.g., accounting).
- Since everything is automated, there’s no need for workers to do anything manually. Everything’s simply available at the click of a button. Available to visit a client? Click ‘yes.’ Job completed? Click ‘finished.’
FSM software solutions come in all shapes and sizes and typically provide the following functionalities:
- Dispatching, scheduling, and task delegation
- Work order management
- Real-time analysis of mobile work status
- Reduction of overhead costs and paperwork
- Increase in first-time-fix rates
- Increase in productivity and efficiency
Benefits of FSM Solutions
A professional field service management software has many benefits for a field service business.
Firstly, it enhances customer satisfaction.
Since it’s much easier to coordinate tasks, customers are reached in less time. And if there are any potential problems, you can quickly identify them through features that allow you to monitor task statuses and comments.
Suppose you’re offering a field service that covers different areas of expertise. In that case, you can also set up a system to assign tasks to technicians who have the necessary skills for a particular problem.
Secondly, good FSM software will increase employee satisfaction.
Since activities are automated, employees of all types (both technicians and back-office employees) can focus on optimization instead of administrative work.
With these tools, you can automate routine tasks, freeing up your employees to do what they do best: provide stellar service.
Finally, it’s much easier to scale your business when you have accurate insights into the business process.
From real-time tracking of location and assets to customer history and job status, you can run your operations more smoothly. If a problem occurs, reassigning tasks is a matter of a single click. These systems also facilitate improved inventory and quality management.
And since they aggregate historical data, you can use them to make better decisions for each customer, employee, and business goal.
What to consider when choosing an FSM software provider
The first thing you should consider is integration with your existing systems.
If you’re already using tools for ERP, customer relationship management, inventory management, sales, or any other aspect of your field service operations, take a look at the degree of integration each tool (and your future FSM tool) offers.
Typically, all of these solutions offer direct integration with major software and API or third-party integrations (such as Zapier integrations) that can also be set up.
Ideally, you’ll be able to ultimately connect your systems to a central database and reduce the number of data silos at your company.
Predictive maintenance is also one of the most critical factors. You want to reduce costs, and this aspect of some FSM tools can help you detect warning signs even before a problem has happened.
Frequently Asked Questions About FSM and FSM Software
Q: Can I use FSM software if I run a small business?
A: Yes! FSM software pricing typically varies from freemium ($0) to upscale solutions with a higher price tag.
However, the functionalities can be used by everyone and typically vary according to the number of users, meaning that you’ll be able to reach your business goals even if you’re not running a big company.
Q: How does FSM help with inventory management?
A: With FSM, everything is neatly tracked, displayed, labeled, and assigned according to the method you choose. So if you want to make sure that the inventory that came in first goes out first, you absolutely can.
Q: I work with independent contractors. Does FSM software help in my case?
A: It does, as it offers more transparency. You’re able to see the availability of all the resources you need to conduct field operations.
Q: What is the best field service management software?
A: The best FSM software is the one that suits your business needs, team size, and market. There are thousands of solutions available, all you need to do is to assess them before. We wrote a guide on the best field service management software, we think you might be interested in.
Want to see your field service company thrive? Request a demo and we will contact you to talk more about Tasker FSM benefits for your business.